Virtual Programs

Teacher and student resources

Virtual Programs

CSI is dedicated to providing resources and activities to aid teachers of K–12 classes in fulfilling curriculum requirements and making learning fun.

It is our goal to provide activities and curriculum that are relevant to northeastern North Carolina while meeting current NC Science Standards and Learning Objectives.  These activities will be posted as they become available, and we offer “live” virtual programs where one of our educators can reach your students from our “TV studio” or from in the field.

Below is a series of activities for students, lesson plans, links to archived data and videos.



Student Activities

These activities  can be used in conjunction with other CSI programs or as stand alone activities for students that relate to the research done at CSI.  The activities stimulate thinking on topics covered in CSI’s on-site programs and can be also used before or after a program.  Click on the photo for a PDF document of the activities.

Please contact David Sybert at sybertd@ecu.edu or 252-475-5451 with questions.

coastal communities

This program asks students to read a short newspaper article and answer questions considering the future resiliency of the Outer Banks coastal community.  The article outlines some of the challenges facing coastal communities, and students are asked to reflect on the needs of a community and plan for the future.  Click here

Energy Audit

This activity asks students to record the amount of energy they use in different aspects of their lives.  The goal is to find ways to reduce energy needs as part of a discussion about alternative energies, and the impact people have on the environment.  This program also works well as an activity for students before visiting CSI for an alternative energy program.  Click here

Marine technology

In this activity students will learn some of the ways technology is used in coastal research, and there is a link to virtually drive a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).  Students can  pilot the underwater robot on different scientific missions..  Click here

Teacher Lesson Plans

Educators at the Coastal Studies Institute provide lesson plans and teacher resources showcasing ongoing research at the Institute and were designed according to North Carolina education standards.  The lesson plan topics include research that occurs at CSI, and many topics have videos and students activities that compliment the lesson plans.

Please contact David Sybert at sybertd@ecu.edu or 252-475-5451 with questions.

Beach nourishment

Rodanthe Emergency Channel ProjectCoastal Processes

This activity challenges students to duplicate the methods scientists use when studying sediment samples, while also using their findings to make informed decisions facing coastal communities.    Click here

Submerged Aquatic Vegetation as Habitat

Rodanthe Emergency Channel Project – Estuarine Ecology and Human Health

SAV is important in maintaining the health, productivity and maintenance of our estuaries by offering a sanctuary to various species of fish, turtles and invertebrates.  This programming offers students a hands-on activity that is both engaging and instructive in understanding of the ecosystem services that SAV provides in North Carolina’s estuaries.  Click here

Using sound for scientific discovery

Rodanthe Emergency Channel Project – Maritime Heritage

Ocean scientists, like geologists and maritime archaeologists, use sound waves to detect underwater features through the use of sonar.  This experiment demonstrates how determining the velocity of sound in certain mediums can aid us in scientific discovery.  Click here

Exploring estuarine erosion processes

Rodanthe Emergency Channel Project – Coastal Processes

This program provides students the chance to investigate the role vegetation plays in mitigating the effects of storm and surge and wave action. CLICK HERE for accompanying PowerPoint Presentation.  Click here

Stormwater effects

Rodanthe Emergency Channel Project – Estaurine Ecology and Human Health

This experiment offers an observable reaction to an increase of nutrients and provides an opportunity for discussion about the nitrogen cycle, food webs and human effects on the environment. Click here

ocean energy and education

Renewable Ocean Energy Project – Coastal Engineering

This lesson plan encourages  students to think about the energy challenges we face, and the role of alternative energy as part of our grid in the future of power production.  Click here

Data Sources

CSI researchers and collaborative agencies collect scientific data on a variety of subjects that is available for public use. Please see links below to real-time data sources in North Carolina that can be used in the classroom.

Water Quality

Ocean Observing
  • CSI wave-rider buoy – Located 9 miles off of Oregon Inlet, the wave-rider buoy records wave height, period, direction and surface water temperature. 
  • Surface Currents – The Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association provides high resolution animations of surface current measurements.
  • Surface Currents International – The Coastal Observing Research and Development Center provides HFRADAR derived surface currents in a number of formats. 


The Coastal Studies Institute provides educational videos communicating the research carried out at the Institute.  For a full list of nearly 100 videos and to subscribe to our YouTube page click HERE.

Kitchen Science
Coastal Processes
Estuarine Ecology and Human Health
Maritime Heritage
Coastal Engineering



Led by East Carolina University (ECU), The Coastal Studies Institute is a multi-institutional research and educational partnership of the UNC System including North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Wilmington, and Elizabeth City State University.


ECU’s Integrated Coastal Programs (ECU ICP) is a leader in coastal and marine research, education, and engagement.   ECU ICP includes the Coastal Studies Institute, ECU’s Department of Coastal Studies, and ECU Diving and Water Safety.


The ECU Outer Banks campus is home to the Coastal Studies Institute.
Located on Roanoke Island along the banks of the second largest estuary
in the United States, this coastal campus spans 213 acres of marshes, scrub wetlands, forested wetlands, and estuarine ecosystems.




The faculty and staff at the Coastal Studies Institute come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, as well as departments and organizations including ECU Department of Biology, ECU Department of Coastal Studies, NC Sea Grant, the North Carolina Renewable Energy Program, and the UNC Institute for the Environment.


The CSI Board of Directors consists of professionals with strong backgrounds in coastal issues including research, development, outreach, education, and policies that affect coastal communities. The Board promotes the UNC System’s mission in helping it serve the people of North Carolina at a high level of excellence in every area of endeavor at the Coastal Studies Institute. The Board meets twice a year to discuss the projects and progress of CSI.


Contact Us

Contact Info

The Coastal Studies Institute
850 NC 345
Wanchese, NC 27981



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